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'We want to celebrate this wonderful culture that we have': RiNo museum hopes to inspire

The Museum For Black Girls is an immersive, interactive pop-up gallery now in Denver.

DENVER — A popup museum has returned to Denver in February to help celebrate Black History Month.

The Museum For Black Girls, recently opened in Denver's River North (RiNo) neighborhood, features an interactive, multi-room art installation celebrating the Black female experience.

“It’s a vibrant, interactive, immersive space,” said founder Charmaine “Charlie” Billingsley. “The art exhibits celebrating the journeys, stories, beauty and histories of Black women and Black girls all around the world.”

Billingsley said the museum was inspired by her own experiences growing up as a Black woman in America. She wanted to start the pop-up venue because her daughter was often insecure about her features as a Black girl growing up.

Credit: Byron Reed

“There’s a lot of spaces where we don’t have people that look like us,” Billingsley said. “Even the hair that grows out of our head is an issue.”

“Often times, we are not celebrated,” said Lavonya Washington, the museum’s director of operations. “So, in the time where there is so much chaos and discord, I think it’s important that we find a place where we can come to and celebrate who we are.”

Credit: Byron Reed

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The museum opened last week showing the interactive works from 10 local artists and women of color including art installations, performances and events.

Billingsley said she wanted to let her daughter know her features are beautiful and decided to create the museum to celebrate women of color and their beauty.

Credit: Charlie Billingsley

“They can find a big vision board and affirmation walls where they can come write their own affirmations, immerse in the beauty of other Black women.”

The temporary museum is open until the end of April at 1421 26th St. in Denver.

Both Billingsley and Washington said the goal of the space was created to be safe, and people can be themselves learning more about Black females and their accomplishments.

Credit: Byron Reed

“We have an exhibit that celebrates 'The first to do it,'” Washington said. “We want to talk about who was the first to do it, but then we want to weigh who’s the next to do it…who’s the next brain surgeon, who’s the next woman on the moon.”

The two hope visitors will walk away with a sense of inspiration and celebrate women of color and their beauty.

Credit: Byron Reed

“I would encourage everyone to come — no matter your ethnicity — to come and visit this space,” Washington said.  “Embrace the beauty of Black women and what we have to offer.”

For more information on The Museum For Black Girls, visit themuseumforblackgirls.com.

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